Holocaust revisionists and the “fake gas chamber” in Auschwitz I

There were three camps in Auschwitz – the original main camp, Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II or Birkenau, and Auschwitz III or Monowitz. The first gassings in Auschwitz took place in a gas chamber in Auschwitz I during 1941 and 1942. It has been estimated that less than 10,000 people were gassed there (Jean-Claude Pressac,  Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York, 1989, p 134). The majority of the Jews who were gassed in Auschwitz were killed in Birkenau or Auschwitz II. Some Holocaust revisionists or deniers have been claiming that  the Auschwitz museum authorities have admitted that the gas chamber in Auschwitz I is a fake.

One of the main sources for this claim is this 1992 video featuring David Cole, a Holocaust revisionist of Jewish background (yes, there is such a thing) and his trip to Auschwitz.

Cole hired a private tour guide Alicia who “had to take a class and memorize a spiel” in which Cole claims the Auschwitz museum authorities such as Dr Piper and the tour guide supervisor “teach their tour guides to say things they know aren’t true” (10 mins).

Inside Auschwitz I’s gas chamber Cole shows that one of the doors is an ordinary wooden door with a glass pane which is clearly not gas-tight, while there is no door at all connecting the gas chamber to the crematorium room, internal walls have been removed and holes in the roof through which the Zyklon B was dropped were added later (16-18 mins).

When Cole asks Alicia, she says that the gas chamber is in its original condition, including the roof holes. She gets flustered and confused when Cole shows her where the internal walls clearly used to be (18-19 mins).

Alicia sent for the supervisor of tour guides who explains that the roof holes are not original but were added after the war and suggests Cole make an appointment with Dr Franciszek Piper of the Auschwitz State Museum (20-21 mins).

Piper explains that the gas chamber in Auschwitz I stopped operating in December 1942 while the crematorium in the same building continued until July 1943. In 1944 the building was converted into an air raid shelter, walls were added and the roof holes were blocked up. After the war the internal walls were removed and the roof holes were added again (24-28 mins).

Cole claims that this is a “clear deception” because “the gas chamber is shown to tourists as being in its original state even though the museum officials know better” (28 min).

It is not a deception at all. Alicia  had taken “a class”, she was not an expert and English was clearly not her first language. She was being asked questions she did not know the answers to. She should have just admitted she did not know. The more senior officials had no problem explaining that it is not in its original condition. There is no cover up.

You can read Franciszek Piper’s opinion of the interview here.

Furthermore, Piper’s statement, that the Auschwitz I gas chamber is not original but a reconstruction, is not a new revelation. In 1989 Jean-Claude Pressac wrote in Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers that the building had been converted from a gas chamber into an air raid shelter in 1944 and  restored after the war (p 132-133).

(The question of the location of the original insertion holes in Crematorium I in Auschwitz I and Crematorium II in Birkenau is examined in Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy and Harry W. Mazal, “The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau”, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, Spring 2004, p 68-103. The section concerning Auschwitz I’s gas chamber can be read online here.)

In 1993 after David Irving had been banned from entering Australia, he released a video The Search for Truth in History.

In this video Irving defines the Holocaust as, “The Holocaust, with a capital H, is what’s gone down in history in this one sentence form, so to speak, “Adolf Hitler ordered the killing of 6 million Jews in Auschwitz” (21 min). A few minutes later, Irving says that in 1989 (before Cole’s interview of Piper), Professor Bernd Martin of the University of Freiburg told him that Piper had told him “the gas chamber, the one they show tourists in Auschwitz is in fact a fake, built after the war by the Poles” (27 min).

Nobody who knows anything about the Holocaust thinks 6 million Jews were killed in Auschwitz. As the David Cole video explains, about 1.1. million Jews died in Auschwitz. The rest died in other camps, ghettos or were killed in mass shootings behind the Eastern Front. Instead, Irving gives his listeners the impression that all the Jews in the Holocaust were killed in Auschwitz and then says the gas chamber in Auschwitz is a fake, so they could not have been gassed in a fake gas chamber. He does not even tell them that most of the Jews who were gassed in Auschwitz were not killed in the supposed fake gas chamber in Auschwitz I, but in the gas chambers of Auschwitz II or Birkenau. The only people, who would be convinced by Irving’s argument, would know nothing about the Holocaust in the first place.

This video Judea Declares War on Germany by Frederick Toben of the Adelaide Institute in Australia is dated 2004, but I saw it around 1997.

Toben also argues that the Auschwitz I gas chamber could not have been a gas chamber because it has an ordinary wooden door which is not gas-tight (3 min, 51 min).  However, he also says that the 1996 book  Auschwitz 1270 to the Present by  Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt said the Auschwitz I gas chamber “is nothing but a fraud” (1:06 min).

Toben cannot have it both ways. If the building is not in its original wartime condition, he cannot argue that its current condition means it could not have been a gas chamber.

David Irving would also accuse van Pelt of saying the gas chamber is a fake,  “You quote Broad on pages 301-2 describing, in a 1991 book of memoirs, the “effective gas chamber which could hold 900 people” in the main camp (i.e. Auschwitz I), but on pages 363-4 you confirm that there never was a gas chamber at Auschwitz I, and that the one shown to the tourists since the war is a fake built by Polish Communists.” (Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002, p 120)

Van Pelt  did not “confirm there never was a gas chamber at Auschwitz I”. He said there was one (Deborah Dwork and Robert Jan van Pelt, Auschwitz 1270 to the Present, W.W. Norton, New York, 1996, p 301-302). He did not say the gas chamber is a fake, but a reconstruction (p 363-364).

Other monuments, such as the Parthenon, Angkor Wat and the Great Wall of China, have been restored. They are not fakes. These revisionists are dishonestly equating a reconstruction with a fake. They are not the same thing.

Revisionists know the difference. Around 7 minutes into another video about his trip to Auschwitz, David Cole and Canadian revisionist Ernst Zundel  stand in front of the swimming pool in Auschwitz I which Cole says is a reconstruction, it has been restored to its original state.

Unlike the reconstructed gas chamber, Cole does not suggest the reconstructed pool is a fake.

Yes, there was a water storage tank which was also used as a pool in Auschwitz I. Revisionists get really excited about it because they want us to believe Auschwitz was actually a nice place, but only some of the more privileged non-Jewish inmates were allowed to use it (Lawrence Rees, Auschwitz, The Nazis and the Final Solution, BBC Books, London, 2005, p 253-254).

Likewise, the barb wire at Auschwitz is not original. It loses its tenacity after a few years and has to  be replaced. That does not mean the barb wire fences are fake.

The Auschwitz I gas chamber is not a serious attempt to deceive the tourists. As revisionists point out, it has a wooden door and no door connecting the gas chamber to the oven room. If the Auschwitz authorities had really wanted to deceive people, they would have done a better job and put some proper gas-tight doors in.

After a few years on the Holocaust revisionist circuit Cole lost interest in Holocaust revisionism. He changed his name to David Stein and went on to make several documentaries saying the Holocaust happened. His IMDb page is here. He founded a group called Republican Party Animals which threw wild parties for conservative celebrities and politicians until an ex-girlfriend exposed his past in 2013. His autobiography Republican Party Animal can be read here.

The 1892 Launceston Revival

2017 was the 125th anniversary of the 1892 Launceston revival which occurred  during the mission tour of Australia and New Zealand by the Church of Ireland minister Rev. George C. Grubb. The night before the first meeting there was an earthquake which many believed was an answer to prayer. The revival is described in Stuart PIggin’s recent book, The Fountain of Public Prosperity, Evangelical Christians in Australian History 1740-1914, Monash University Publishing, Victoria, 2018, p 526-528. This post will look at some of the original accounts of the revival.

In 1893 Edward Millard, who had accompanied Grubb, published The Same Lord, an account of their mission tour to Australia and New Zealand. It can be found online here.

A photo of the mission party from The Same Lord. George Grubb is third from the right.

This is Millard’s account of the events in Launceston;

We landed around 4.30 p.m., on Saturday afternoon, and rested until Monday, when THE LAUNCESTON CONVENTION was opened by a prayer meeting at 7.30 p.m., and Mr Grubb presided.

The Lord made His presence and power manifest in many ways, not only at the convention meetings, but also by giving us a slight repetition of Acts xvi. 25, 26; for “at midnight … there was a great earthquake,” which lasted about thirty seconds. The whole town was shaken, clocks stopped, chimneys fell, and people were rocked in their beds. Many were much alarmed, while several of the convention Christians rushed to their windows and looked out, thinking that the Lord was coming, and said, “Praise the Lord!” while several unconverted yielded to God. Strange to say, Pastor Soltau, who had been mainly instrumental in getting  up the convention, had, on the previous Sunday, prayed, “O Lord, if nothing but an earthquake will awake these people, send us an earthquake.”

The blessing at this convention without doubt surpassed the previous ones held at Geelong and Sydney. The Lord simply took possession of the speakers. The clear teaching given of FULL SALVATION was used as the means of showing many the cause of failure in the past, and the folly of asking God to fill with the Holy Ghost till He had been allowed to make empty by cleansing from all sin. The testimonies on the last night were thrilling. The chairman said, that the ministers on the platform would be allowed two minutes each to tell of blessing received. Immediately up stood one after another (representing all denominations), and humbly acknowledged before God and the two thousand five hundred people present, how they had come to the convention to “see” and not to receive; but that although at its commencement they had been “dead against” the movement, they had not only been convicted, but the Lord had cleansed them of their sins of unbelief and other things, and filled them with the Holy Spirit.

One clergyman said that the Lord told him to give up his pipe as a test to full surrender. He rebelled for some time, but finally yielded to God, and the Lord so baptised him with the Holy Ghost that he was unable to refrain from praising God aloud.

The missionary meeting was again a season of great power. Rev. John Watsford, who had been present in Sydney, had come here also as one of the speakers. So many candidates were offering for the mission fields at home and abroad, that some of us met for special prayer, to ask guidance as what ought to be done; for although many were willing to follow the Lord anywhere, in some cases, there was manifest an unfitness which we felt could be overcome by  a little training. The result of this was that Dr. and Mrs. Warren were led to definitely offer to start a training home in Melbourne.

The parish of St. John’s was literally thrown open to us, and we were greatly drawn to the rector and his family. The Lord gave us much blessing, but the church was small, and on several occasions the usual church members found that the place was filled before they arrived, so could not share in the mission.

This church is the oldest “Church of England” building in Tasmania, and was erected in the year 1825 by the convicts.

From Launceston we went by train to Hobart. (Edward C. Millard, The Same Lord, Malborough, London, 1893, p 267-270)

 

St John’s Anglican Church, circa 1900

The revival was described in the local newspapers the Daily Telegraph and the Launceston Examiner

Daily Telegraph January 26 1892 reports;

The first meeting of the Christian convention to be held in the city this week took place in the hall of the Mechanics Institute last night. Most of the ministers of the principal denominations were on the platform with the exceptions of the Roman catholic and Anglican clergy. The hall was so crowded that many were unable to find more than standing room.

After the meeting had been opened by hymns and prayer, the Rev. G. C. Grubb, MA, read the sixth chapter [of] 2nd Samuel and based the address he delivered on that chapter. The speaker commenced by asking all those who had brought their Bibles with them to stand up. About one quarter of the audience responded; very few of the ministers present appeared to have brought Bibles, whereupon Mr Grubb asked them how soldiers could expect to fight without their swords. The rev, gentleman then proceeded to compare the ark of the covenant mentioned in the chapter he read to Christ who, he said, was the ark that ought to be placed in every believer’s heart, and if anyone in the audience were asked the reason of their conversion they would say it was bold to put the ark in the right place. Mr Grubb had been mentioned by the Sydney papers as an “old convention hand”, and such he hoped the ministers who were ready with prepared speeches would forget them and  speak as the  Holy Spirit gave them utterance, pointing out the harm often done by ministers defending the word of God by carnal arguments instead of leaving it to stand alone, as it was well able to do. The speaker then warned the ministers present to sanctify themselves before the convention opened, as the priests of David had done before removing the ark; also saying that as David danced before the ark, as the convention was going to wind up with a public dance, such dancing as Launceston would hear. Mr Grubb then dilated on changes wrought by the holy Spirit, prophesying that it would make the  cantankerous woman amiable, and the covetous man come to Mr Soltau with a cheque for 500 pounds. Referring to the charge of certain Melbourne and Sydney papers that his influence was due to hypnosis, Mr Grubb depreciated the spirit of God and HIs influence being blasphemed, those who displeased that spirit would remain barren and unfruitful Christians until the day of their death.

Mr Grubb, after his address, asked all those who had not yet put Christ in the right place to stand up: several among the audience responded, and two or three ministers in the platform, these were made the subjects of special prayer, the meeting being closed by the Doxology and the Benediction, pronounced by the Rev. J. Watsford.

1861 photo of the Mechanics’ Institute on the corner of St John and Cameron Streets, next to St Andrews’ Presbyterian Church

The Launceston Examiner 27 January 1892 reports;

The actual work of the Christian Convention commenced yesterday morning, and throughout the day crowded meetings were held in the Mechanics’ Institute, great enthusiasm being shown by the clerical and lay persons of the city. The ministers of various churches were engaged at intervals in visiting their parishioners and urging them to attend the meetings, and as a consequence at the evening meeting every available space was occupied, and numbers were compelled to St.  Andrews’ Church where an overflow meeting was held, and very largely attended.

At 7 a.m. a prayer meeting was held when several ministers offered up earnest exhortations for the success of the Convention. The 10:30 a.m. service was largely attended, and on this occasion the president, the Rev. G.C. Grubb, MA, delivered what may be called the opening address of the Convention from the text I Chronicles, chap. iv, verses 9 and 10, “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren, and his mother called his name Jabez because I bear him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldst keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! and God granted him that which he requested.” In this, the rev. gentleman said, would be found the reason for the holding of the Convention, that the people may call to God to keep them from evil, and that they may make their peace with Him.

At 3.30 p.m. the second meeting of the Convention was held, when several ministers spoke on the subject of the Convention, and urged the Christians of Launceston to take full advantage of the grace offered. The Rev. Messers. Bunning and Mitchell, of Victoria, were amongst the speakers.

In the evening the Institute room was filled fifteen minutes before the hour appointed for commencing the meeting, and during that time several hymns were sung by  a strong choir. Archdeacon Langley opened the meeting with prayer, and the president Rev. G.C. Grubb, MA, delivered a powerful address from the text Malachi, chapter iii, 10th verse, “Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there might be meat in Mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it.” He said that a great object in holding the Convention was to ask God to open the windows of Heaven to Christians. To do that they must be willing to be saved. There was no unconditional salvation, it was conditional on belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. A brief historical account of the use of the words “Open the windows of Heaven” in the Bible was given The speaker said they wanted the “windows” open in judgment, and added that by baptism they would be saved. He went on to speak from the text II Kings, chapter vii, 7th to the last verse, and said they had come from Australia to this city, like the Syrians to the subjects of the king of Israel with a message of peace. He then concluded by exhorting them to allow the Lord to judge them, to have a great belief in the Lord and to surrender themselves entirely to His service. After hymns had been sung Archdeacon Langley  and the Rev. Mr. Watson of Victoria gave earnest addresses.

At the overflow meeting the Rev. Allan Webb, of Victoria, presided, and delivered a short address on the work of the convention. He was followed by Miss Millard and Dr Watson.

After the afternoon meeting yesterday those who attended assembled outside the Mechanics’ Institute, and paraded through several of the streets singing hymns.

The Launceston Examiner 28 January 1892 reports;

Proceedings commenced yesterday in the Mechanics’ Institute at 7 a.m. with a prayer meeting, at which there was a large attendance. Several persons engaged in devotional exercises, and an adjournment was made until the subsequent meeting. At 10.30 a.m. the large hall at the Mechanics’ Institute was well filled, and the Rev. G.C. Grubb gave a Bible reading, selecting for his subject “The working of the Holy Spirit”, and basing it principally on the incidents in connection with the multiplying of the widow’s oil by Elisha and the raising of the dead boy, contained in II Kings, chapter 4. The address which the reverend gentleman delivered was a fervent one, and it was followed by a prayer meeting, which was somewhat remarkable owing to the intensity of the Holy Spirit which pervaded the gathering.

In the afternoon the meeting was a crowded one, and addresses were given  by the Revs. J. E. Harrison and J,. Copperthwaiite, both of Ballarat. Mr. Harrison’s topic was “Following Jesus Fully” and in enlarging upon it he entreated his hearers to put their full and complete trust in Him. Mr Copperthwaite followed on “Claiming the promises and obeying the commandments attached hereto”. On this subject he delivered a logical and impressive discourse. During these daily meetings there has been an evidence of the greatest interest in the whole proceedings. At the conclusion of the afternoon meeting the members formed in line outside the Mechanics’ Institute, and following along Cameron Street, the principal streets were paraded slowly, all joining in singing the Convention hymns.

About 3000 persons assembled at the Albert Hall in the evening, when the platform was thronged with the adherents of the Convention. After the opening hymns and prayers had been given the Rev. G.C. Grubb addressed the meeting on the subject of “Redeeming love”, taking his text from the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians, chap. iii, verses 13 to 19. In commencing the discourse he told them that his theme would be something about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the present time the principal features of everyday life were vengeance and dissatisfaction, but the Book of Ecclesiastes was written specially to tell the world that nothing under the sun would give fulness of God. It was to Him alone they had to look for forgiveness, and when they had obtained that pardon for their sins they would be new men and women. It was He alone that could break down the stubborn-hearted, and at that meeting he trusted they would obtain that which was necessary to secure perfect peace and happiness. There were so many unbelieving persons at the present time that he hardly knew how to deal with them, but the wanted them to attend the meetings of the Convention so that they might get their doubts turned into shouts. In other places the newspapers had stated that the Grubb fever was worse than the influenza epidemic but if it imparted to the multitude the redeeming love of Jesus it was a malady worth catching. The Convention was really formed for telling the people how they could get their sins taken away. They should first get heaven into themselves before they get into heaven. After redeeming love came forgiving love, and God had commissioned him that night to preach a full and free forgiveness of sin. God offered unfettered grace to every sinner who sought it, and all that sinner had to do was to cry, “Lord, I’ll take it,”and if he really meant it, he would receive it, because the Lord was a faithful and just father. Then came the transforming and reclaiming love of Christ, which if they claimed it would take all the cares and worries away from their lives, and remove the wrinkles from their cheeks – as no much advertised cosmetic could possibly do; the Lord could restore to them their youth, and they would then testify what they knew, and what God had told them. Most persons were anxious at different portions of their lives to turn over a new leaf, but the leaves generally turned back again, and instead of turning new leaves they wanted to commence new lives. In addition to the loves he had mentioned there was restoring love, or the new life which sprung up in the heart of the newly converted. There could be no union with the church and the world. All that savoured of the world should be trampled underfoot and there would be no power in the church until everything appertaining to the world was rejected. There should be no bazaars, lotteries or gambling started to raise funds for church purposes or indeed for anything else. If any money was required, they should go down on their knees and pray for it, and if they asked in a prayerful spirit, they would get whatever sum they required. His Father in heaven was very well off, and He was a very generous parent, and would give bountifully  for whatever was wanted. The address, which occupied an hour, was listened to with great attention.

Albert Hall, Launceston

The  Launceston Examiner 29 January 1892 reports;

Yesterday the prayer meeting at 7 a.m. at the Mechanics’ Institute was well attended. The Rev. W.C. Bunning (Melbourne) conducted the meeting, and many others entered with spirit into the devotional exercises.

At 10.30 am the Albert Hall contained a good congregation where the Rev, G. C. Grubb, M.A., presided, and gave an interesting and elegant address from St John, chap 7, verse 37, “In the last day, that day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”

Addresses were also given by Archbishop Langley (Gippsland) and the Rev. Alan Webb (Geelong).

There was a large assemblage at the three o’ clock service when the Rev, G. C. Grubb gave a Bible reading, which was followed by addresses by Pastor J. Soltau and Rev. A. Webb (Geelong). The Rev. J. Watsford (Melbourne) closed the meeting with prayer.

The Rev. G.C. Grubb presided at the meeting at the Albert Hall in the evening, at which despite the unpleasant weather there was a large gathering. After the ordinary opening ceremony the chairman gave an address from part of Isaiah chap. vi. He said he would tell them that evening how the prophet Isaiah got the Saviour’s blessing. Some said that the chapter under review told of Isaiah’s conversion, but that was not the case. He was converted many years before then, but in that chapter they were told he got cleansed. The address would be specially delivered to himself and the ministers on the platform so that they might be cleansed and made more fit for their daily work. In the vision referred to in the chapter, Isaiah saw a typical scene of worship. He saw the Lord Jesus sitting upon the throne, above which stood the seraphim who purged his sins with fire. There was a burning worship and no worship was fully pleasing to God unless it was a burning one. He wished them all to become seraphs, but before they could they had to get seraphic wings, and the object of the Convention was to turn Christians into serpahims. If a man had an unclean heart he could never praise God, but when he became pure he obtained power. There were many impure things done by persons who professed Christianity. When he heard one Christian talking ill of another he felt inclined always to tell him he saw flames coming put of his mouth. The devil meant slander, and he was never more to be feared when he came as an angel of light. He besought that all might to pray for a blessing, and he asked those who had specially received a blessing on that occasion to stand up. Nearly all on the platform responded, and afterwards a few of the Sunday School teachers and church elders in the body of the hall stood up. Several of those standing then offered up prayers, and the Rev. John Watsford of Melbourne then delivered an impassioned address in which he said the truth had been very clearly put to those who had attended the meetings of the Convention and the blessing had been asked for and received. He would never forget the feeling that had pervaded the meeting held on Wednesday morning, but still he felt  that although many had obtained that Divine blessing there were many who had gone to the border line, and then had not entered in, and before the Convention closed they wanted all those people to go right in and be cleansed. A prayer meeting concluded the proceedings.

Mechanics’ Institute, Launceston

The Launceston Examiner 30 January 1892 reports,

A number of meetings were held in connection with the mission at present being conducted by the Rev. G.C. Grubb, M.A., yesterday, and at all the attendance was good.

A prayer meeting was held at 7 a.m. at which many persons  joined in the devotions.

The Albert Hall was well attended at 10 a.m. when a foreign missionary service took place. Addresses were delivered by the Rev. G. C. Grubb and Mrs. Millard (a missionary from China), and Rev. J. Watsford gave some reminiscences of his sojourn with the cannibals of Fiji nearly half a century earlier.

At 3 p.m. a meeting for women only was held in the large hall of the Mechanics’ Institute, which was filled to hear the various addresses touching on women’s duties.

A conference of ministers met the Rev. G. C. Grubb in the class room  of the Mechanics’ yesterday afternoon, when several questions affecting the details of the Convention work were put to Mr. Grubb, and answered by him.

The YMCA Lecture Hall was fairly attended during the afternoon when a meeting was held specially for professional and business men. Drs Warren M’All (Melbourne), Mr Virgo (Adelaide) and Mr Millard (Melbourne) addressed those present from various texts in the Bible which presented themselves to the speakers.

In the evening the Convention was brought to a conclusion with a testimony and praise meeting, which was crowded. The Rev.  G. C. Grubb presided, and addressed his remarks solely to those who were converted, his subject being holiness. He said that faith in the Lord Jesus would make them dead to the world, the flesh and the devil. Frequently Christians had to leave friends and home to follow Christ and obey His commands. Ministers instead of giving forth to their congregations the earnest words which God would give them if they asked, oftentimes frightened them by high flown sermons full of Latin and other foreign words which confused the listeners. At the close of his remarks he called upon the members of the Convention to give testimonies and he limited the time of each to two minutes. The Revs. A Webb, J.G. Millard, E.C. Tennant, R. Smith, J.G. Wheen, Pastor Soltau, then informed the meeting of the special blessings they had received during the week. Pastor Soltau said he now had full demonstration of the power of God to answer prayer. He knew He could do so, but he doubted somewhat if He would heed his (Mr Soltau’s) little appeal. However, he was thankful to say that he had given him a direct and practical answer for on last Sunday night week he prayed to the Almighty specially to send an earthquake upon Launceston so that the inhabitants would be shaken so that they would realise their peril. In His own good time and in the very week the Convention were holding their meetings his request had been granted and he thanked God for it. The usual prayer meeting brought the mission to a close.

A recent photo of Civic Square, Launceston from The Examiner newspaper. The Mechanics’ Institute used to be between St Andrews Church and the Town Hall

 

The Kelly Cahill UFO Encounter and the Demonic Hypothesis Part Two

In Part One I looked at Pentecostal Christian Kelly Cahill’s account of her 1993 UFO encounter in Victoria, Australia, which she described in her out-of-print 1996 book Encounter.

As I have discussed here, here and here, I believe UFO abductions are demonic in nature, they are demons affecting the minds of people so they think they are being abducted by aliens. Support for the demonic hypothesis can be found in cases of UFO abductions being stopped by the abductees calling on the name of Jesus. This makes sense if the abduction phenomenon is demonic, but not if they really are alien visitors. First-hand accounts of calling on the name of Jesus can be found at Alien Resistance, the book Unholy Communion by David Ruffino and Joseph Jordan (Defender Publishing, Missouri, 2010) and the documentary Alien Intrusion.

As mentioned in Part One, Kelly thought the beings, which she encountered, were evil and anti-God. Along with the way she stopped the abduction, her encounter appears to support the demonic hypothesis.

Non-Christian UFO researchers, reporting on the Kelly Cahill case, tend to downplay how she stopped her abduction by calling on God (Bill Chalker, The Oz Files, Duffy and Snellgrove, NSW, 1996, p 9-17, Keith Basterfield, UFOs: A Report on Australian Encounters, Reed Books, Victoria, 1997, p 123-128). This has been a problem in other abduction cases where non-Christian UFO researchers do not report how abductions have been stopped by calling on Jesus, apparently because this conflicts with their extraterrestrial hypothesis (Gary Bates, Alien Intrusion, Master Books, Arizona, 2004, p 259).

UFO researchers find the Kelly Cahill case interesting because it involved three independent groups of people having an abduction experience at the same time. In most UFO abductions only individuals are affected.

Another interesting feature of this encounter is that abductees do not usually consciously remember their experiences and they need to be hypnotised to recall them, but, while Kelly did not remember her experiences at first, she was later able to remember what happened without being hypnotised. Unlike some other abduction cases, there can be no suggestion that her memories were created by the hypnotist asking leading questions.

Christian UFO researchers believe that demons are able to influence people’s minds so they think they are being abducted by aliens because they did something, like being involved in the occult, which opened the door to the demonic influence or attack (Unholy Communion, p 245-275, Alien Intrusion, p 262-263). Because UFO abductions imply demonic control or authority over the abductees, we should not expect Christians to have abduction experiences.

It is true that Christians are less likely to be “abducted”, however there are a few cases where it has happened to Christians. It has been suggested that they are not true born-again Christians (Alien Intrusion, p 256-257).

Kelly Cahill comes across as a sincere and devout Christian, yet she still had an abduction experience. I don’t know if being married to a Muslim before she became a Christian counts as a demonic doorway. Nevertheless, without turning into one of those cranky, judgmental heresy-hunters on the Internet, there appears to be something “off” about Kelly’s Christianity.

As mentioned in Part One, Kelly described how she spent several weeks before her UFO encounter, fasting, praying, and trying to get closer to God “in pursuit of perfection in the eyes of God.” (Kelly Cahill, Encounter, Harper Collins, Sydney, 1996, p 27).  However, Christians cannot hope to achieve perfection or please God through their own efforts. They can only hope to be seen as perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus’ righteousness has been imputed to them (Romans 3-6, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Instead of trusting in what Jesus has done for her, Kelly appears to be trying to earn favour with God.

In fact, the word “Jesus” appears to be completely absent from the book. Kelly does not stop the abduction by calling on “the name of Jesus”, but “the name of God” (Encounter, p 134).

Many Pentecostal Christians appear to rely on their subjective experience, rather than the objective Word of God, as their source for truth and authority. If they experience something, it must be true and from God. This has made Pentecostals to all sorts of deceptions and heresies.

Other Pentecostals, such as Andrew Strom, are more discerning and accept that Pentecostals can have false demonic experiences which they think are from God.

As mentioned on Part One, three weeks before her UFO encounter, Kelly, who had been praying and fasting, had an intense spiritual experience, which she described as energy rolling over her and which left her physicality exhausted (Encounter, p 29). It might sound like what Pentecostals refer to as being baptised in the Holy Spirit, however Kelly says the energy which she felt “was very similar to the energy I experienced during the [UFO] encounter, except that my interpretation of it was completely different (Encounter, p 30). If both experiences were similar, and she regarded the UFO experience as demonic, this suggests her initial experience  was not from God and she had been deceived.

Kelly saw her first UFO on the way to her friend’s house and she was at first confused, but then concluded that God must have sent it to acknowledge her devotion to Him. She said in her mind to the UFO that she would see it again later (Encounter, p 35-36).

At this point Kelly did not consider the possibility of demonic deception. She assumed it was from God, as if God sends us UFOs to show us how good we are, and probably opened herself up to demonic influence by trying to communicate with the UFO in her mind.

Kelly was conflicted about her experience. When she first saw a UFO, she thought it was from God (Encounter, p 29-30), but she thought the UFO beings, which tried to abduct her, were evil, demonic, soulless, anti-God and wanted to kill her (Encounter, p 115-134).  Later, she had a dream in which one of the beings gave her a choice between giving up her Bible and coming with them or keeping her Bible. She decided they had to be Satanic to give her such a choice and she chose to keep her Bible (Encounter, p 62-66).

Although Kelly at first chose her Bible and Christian faith over the UFO beings, in the end her Christian faith lost the struggle. As I have discussed in UFOs, the Bible and the Worldview Problem, one of the consequences (or purposes) of UFO abductions is the transformation of the worldview of the abductee from a Christian or Western secular worldview to a more (for want of a better term) “New Age” worldview. Some Christians, who have had abduction experiences, have abandoned their Christian faith and become more “New Age”  in their thinking as a result of their experience. This includes Kelly Cahill.

Kelly said that her encounter gave her a new purpose in life as she tried to make sense of her experience (Encounter, p 221). She writes, “I got hold of everything I could find on the subject of UFOs and began studying this as intensely as I had once studied the Bible” (Encounter, p 201-202).

It sounds like she did choose UFOs over the Bible after all.

Kelly does not appear to have consulted any Christian books on the demonic nature of the UFO phenomenon, such as UFOs and their Mission Impossible  (1975) and Close Encounters: A Better Explanation (1978) by Clifford Wilson, UFOs: What on Earth is Happening? (1975) by John Weldon, The Facts on UFOs and Other Supernatural Phenomena (1992) by John Ankerberg, UFOs in the New Age (1992) by William Alnor or Operation Trojan Horse (1970) by John Keel, a non-Christian who recognized the demonic aspects of the UFOs. I had read all these by the time Kelly had her encounter in 1993.

She does not say anything about talking to other Christians about her experience. Indeed, like Jesus, there is no mention of other Christians or her church, if she went to one.

Like some other abductees, Kelly’s UFO encounter resulted in a transformation of her worldview. She concluded her book,

“So overall, the effect of the encounter has instigated a kind of “flushing out” process of all my traditional values and precepts – sort of wiping the slate clean, ready to begin again. This time, instead of being taught what to believe, I’m on an inner journey of discovery, where I can find and place my own beliefs according to where I have found truth. If nothing else, I have learned one thing: You can never know anything unless you have experienced it.” (Encounter, p 230-231)

I have never experienced the American Civil War but I know it happened.

The Bible warns about spiritual deception (2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 John 4:1-2), so just because we have an unusual experience does not mean the Bible is wrong. It means the experience was not from God. Kelly had an unusual experience, but it did not disprove the Bible. It was a demonic attack and the Bible gave her the authority to resist it. However, even though Kelly originally believed the encounter was demonic, she chose to believe her experience over the Bible.

The Kelly Cahill case not only supports the demonic hypothesis, it also shows why Christians need to base their beliefs on the Bible, not their experience. Our experiences are different and cannot all be objectively true. The Christian worldview is not founded on subjective experience, but on objective historical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God who  revealed the truth to us and rose from the dead.